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The family friendly guide to Christmas events
Unforgettable experiences for families this Christmas.
From magical visits with Santa to buzzing festivals and walks through winter wonderlands, Christmas 2021 has seasonal treats for all the family. Throw on your matching festive jumpers and get ready for a holiday experience to remember.

With tickets selling out quickly, this is the perfect time to check out what’s on and get booking.

1County Donegal

Wild Ireland

Visit the Wild Arctic Experience to see Christmas turkeys, snowy owls and arctic wolves in a wildlife sanctuary decorated with thousands of twinkling bulbs. Follow the forest trail past creatures made of light on the way to see Santa and his elves. Then have a festive snack in the café, or go wild in the toy shop.

2County Sligo

Lissadell House & Gardens

The Lissadell Under the Stars Drive In Movie Theatre presents a lineup of seasonal family favourites from Home Alone to Elf. There are choices for grownups too, with films like Love Actually providing a welcome pause from the holiday whirlwind.

3County Mayo

Westport House

The Winter Wonderland creates a fairytale realm in the heart of Westport. Begin with a stroll through Tinsel Town under real falling snow on a mission to meet Santa. Afterwards take in the estate grounds aboard the Winter Wonderland Express Train or pop inside to admire the beautifully decorated Georgian house itself. You’ll want to stop for a family photo beside the enormous festooned Christmas tree in the Front Hall.

Aerial view of Westport House, Co Mayo
Marvel at the estate grounds aboard the Winter Wonderland Express Train.
4County Roscommon

Strokestown Park House and Garden

At the Winter Garden Wonderland, head to Christmas Street in the captivating walled garden. Giggle together at the stories told by Enchanted Croí’s Puppet Theatre before you make your way to Santy’s Grotto. You can stop to grab a bite at the mobile café as you browse the craft stalls for gifts. 

Arigna Mining Experience

In this former coal mine turned museum, at Santa’s Underground Grotto the elves are working away to wrap everyone’s gifts. On Saturdays watch the Custard Pie Puppet Show and sing along with Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. 

Arigna Mining Experience, Carrick-on-Shannon, Roscommon
Go underground at Arigna Mining Experience.
5County Galway

Galway Racecourse

Discover Elf Town and be welcomed by Head Elf Glitterpants as you learn the Elf Town Shuffle. Take your new moves out on the LED dancefloor, then chill with Jack Frost in a house made of real ice. Once you’ve decorated cookies with Mrs Claus, it’s time for the all important visit with the Main Man himself.

Town Hall Theatre

In a new take on The Nutcracker holiday tradition, Nutcracker Sweeties delights with dance. You’ll be transported to a magical sugary kingdom through ballet and dazzled by the costumes and scenery along the way. Watch as the stage becomes a snow globe and the Christmas windows of a famous Dublin department store spring to life.

6County Cork

Mardyke Christmas Market

Next to Fitzgerald’s Park there’s a new market this year. Tuck into food truck treats like grilled cheese and fresh doughnuts before paying a visit to Santa’s Grotto and Sleigh Mobile for selfies, followed by a chinwag with the Man in the Red Suit. Shop for your Christmas tree or check out stalls such as The Merchant Princess for prints and Ceramifique for pottery.

Polar Express in Clonakilty

Board the Polar Express as it passes through the Model Railway Village in Clonakilty. This immersive walk-through Christmas event is geared towards magical discovery for all the family. Meet the elves, sing carols on the model village road-train, and wave a special UV light to find hidden reindeer in the sky. A touch of movie magic even means you can meet Santa safely via green screen. Finish up at the Village of Lights to see a miniature West Cork aglow.

7County Waterford

Waterford Winterval

In Ireland’s Christmas Capital stare up in wonder at the country’s largest Christmas tree at over 50ft. Inspire little scientists and engineers in Kids Lab-Land and shop a Continental Christmas Market full of Yuletide goodies. Then eat your way through the Cultural Quarter before a VIP meeting with You Know Who. Everyone is invited as even four legged family members get to join in at the Petstival.

8County Kilkenny

Yulefest Kilkenny 

Don your best Christmas finery, bling up your bike and pedal with St Nick on Santa’s City Cycle or take to the streets in the annual Santa Run. With Kilkenny Castle as a backdrop, you can cosy up under a blanket to catch a movie by the local award winning animation studio, Cartoon Saloon. In a packed programme, you’ll enjoy a concert by The Three Tenors, wreath making workshops, weaving and much more.

Kilkenny Castle
Gather the family at Yulefest Kilkenny.
9County Wexford

Wexford Winterland

Head to Wexford Quay to find out what’s cooking in Mrs Claus’ kitchen. You’ll whip up a batch of secret recipe reindeer treats, then it’s time for the big moment with Santa in his library where little ones can have a professional photo with him and receive a gift to take home. Memories made, lace up your skates and hit the rink at Wexford on Ice. Stability aids are on hand if needed, so everyone in the family can enjoy a confident glide across the ice.

Wexford Quay, Co Wexford
Make memories at Wexford Winterland.

Wells House & Gardens

Be immersed in an illuminated extravaganza in the Land of Light. On the grounds of a Victorian mansion, wander the forest trail under the night sky, find the Enchanted Wishing Well and pass through the Stargate Portal. On December 5th a special Sensory Evening with reduced noise, quieter music and toned down lighting will give guests with autism and sensory processing disorders.

Wells House and Gardens, Co Wexford
Take in the illuminating Land of Light at Wells House & Gardens.
10County Carlow

Rathwood Home and Garden World

Go on an adventure at Santa Visits the Big Top as you hop aboard the Rathwood Express to journey through the forest. Take your seat under The Big Top and you’ll see Santa, Mrs Claus and the elves in an all singing, all dancing show. Strike a pose in Santa’s sleigh for a group photo before stopping into the Christmas shop for something special to decorate the house.

11County Wicklow

Wicklow Christmas Market

Take a trip through the market to savour tastes from all over the world and pick up woodcrafts, ornaments, jewellery and more. Marvel at stilt walkers and the nightly fire show, or zoom across the Eco-Ice rink, which looks and feels like the real thing while being much more environmentally friendly. Top off the experience with a ride on the Santa Express to visit the big guy at the North Pole.

12County Kildare

Palmerstown House Estate

Cruise through Santa’s House Express on a drive-through Christmas jaunt as you tour Elf Town, roll down Candy Cane Lane and pass Santa’s Toy Factory in the comfort of your car. Once you’ve reached your destination you can park up for a visit with the Jolly Old Elf before a trip to the funfair in the Manor House Gardens. Enjoy festive treats and hot food before braving the rides.

13County Meath

Loughcrew Historic Gardens

The Alice In Wonderland Lightshow brightens the dark winter night through installations, animations, light and sound. You’ll disappear down the rabbit hole, take tea at the Mad Hatter’s table and meet Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. Lose yourself in an enchanted garden dating back to the 9th century.

14County Louth

Drogheda Theatre Company - The Tommy Leddy Theatre (TLT)

The venue with one of Ireland’s largest stages becomes a world of fantasy at TLT Christmas Wonderland. Here the Big Man has set up his seasonal HQ, and Mrs Claus provides shelter from the Arctic in her Cosy Lodge. Watch the live cabaret show before your personal audience with Santa.

Plan your unforgettable festive family adventure today

Looking for further inspiration? Check out What’s On to see even more things to do together this Christmas. 

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